With these paintings, the artist aims to show the richness of Christian culture of East and West. He says his work has been inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy.
"What I want to show in this exhibition in Rome is 20 years of my work. After the last exhibit I did in Palermo in 1989 that was devoted to Dante, I have devoted my entire work to Christianity.”
His art focuses on events from the Gospel. This painting shows the Transfiguration of Jesus. When creating it, he says he was inspired by the face in the Holy Shroud, located in Turin.
It also reflects the experiences of the early centuries of the Church before the schism between East and West. Art pieces like this are meant to link Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
"As a painter, I see no insurmountable barrier between the Catholic and Orthodox tradition to look together to Christ. (FLASH) 11:13 I see no particular difficulty because from the beginning of Christianity the Church was one.”
The exhibit's opening ceremony was attended by Cardinal Paul Poupard, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as well as representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Orthodox Church St. Catherine of Alexandria (Rome)
"The Influence of art in the world is very strong and is an essential part of the mission of preaching the Gospel and since we have common roots, the two churches, Catholic and Orthodox, we must remember those roots.”
Valery Kharitonov hopes his art will help to overcome the barriers that still exist between Christians and to deepen their common roots by creating a new culture that is not afraid to openly speak about these differences.
KLH / OFL